Animal welfare group disappointed Auckland Council allowing greyhound race to go ahead

Wexford , Ireland - 18 June 2020; Cushie Wayne on the way to winning during The Slan Abhaile Five-2-Five A3 Stakes at Enniscorthy Greyhound Stadium in Wexford. Greyhound racing across the Republic of Ireland returned, on 18 June, as restrictions on sporting events are relaxed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

By Kate Green of RNZ

An animal welfare group says it is disappointing Auckland Council is allowing the Silver Collar greyhound race to go ahead at the Manukau Sports Bowl today.

The race comes less than a month after the release of a damning report by the Racing Integrity Board, commissioned by the government, which found the industry was unviable in its current form.

Racing Minister Kieran McAnulty had previously indicated he was considering shutting the industry down, but a final decision was unlikely before the election.

Direct Animal Action spokesperson Stephanie Koks said in light of this, it was shocking Auckland Council and the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board continued to allow racing in a facility under its management.

She said not only was it animal abuse, but the council was endorsing gambling at a public park, in the lower socio-economic area of south Auckland during a cost-of-living crisis.

The 779-metre Silver Collar is one of the longer races, increasing chances of dog injury and death on the track.

"We understand that the board will also consider Auckland Greyhound Racing Club's lease in the coming months and we're appealing to them not to renew it."

Fellow spokesperson Rom Marinkovich said while the council planned to replace the stadium with an athletics track, it could take decades to find the funding.

"What we're asking for them to do in the meantime, whilst they're waiting for the funding - which could be 15 to 30 years away - is to end the dog racing and to ask the community what they want to have there," she said.

Auckland Council has been approached for comment.